Search/Browse Help - Search Limits
Search Limits: Titles List
Selecting Refine Your Search from a Titles List generated by Keyword Search and Advanced Search, as well as the Titles Beginning With, LCCN, and Standard Numbers (LCCN-ISBN-ISSN) options of Browse enables you to add limits to your search results. Refine Your Search returns you to your previous search page, with limit options open. Located at the top left of your screen, this link may be part of the Search Navigation drop-down menu, depending on your search query.
Note that limits are not available for Browse searches of Authors/Creators, Subjects, Names/Titles, Series/Uniform Titles, and Call Numbers, since Browse Lists allow continuous paging from the first to last heading or cross-reference in the Catalog.
Search Limits: Keyword Search, Advanced Search, Browse
To filter your search from Keyword Search, Advanced Search, or the Titles Beginning With, LCCN, or Standard Numbers (LCCN-ISBN-ISSN) options of Browse, toggle open Add Limits and select:
- Year Published/Created of the material
- Location of the collection within the Library of Congress
- Place of Publication (e.g., country, state, province)
- Type of material (e.g., book, periodical, music score)
- Language of the material
The Limits label toggles between Add Limits and Remove Limits, as seen in this example from Browse.
More About Year Published/Created
Year Published/Created filters your search results by an item's date of publication or creation. Select the appropriate radio button for the type of year range you wish to use, then make a selection from the Year "drop-down" menu or supply a specific date range in the "From" and "To" boxes.
- Example #1: A book published in 2011 will be retrieved by the following date limit: from 2011 to 2011.
- Example #2: A music score with an uncertain date of publication (date information in the record recorded as "[19--]" or "19uu") will be retrieved by using broad date limits (from 1900 to 1960 or from 1890 to 1970, etc.). Using a single date limit will not retrieve the record.
- Example #3: A periodical whose publication dates span the years 1926-1969 will only be retrieved if the year span includes the full date range: from 1920 to 1970; from 1926 to 1980, etc.
- When searching for reprint publications, limit by the date of the reprint not the original date of publication.
- Not all records in the LC Catalog contain date information in the fields used for date limiting. For example, records for many archival manuscript or mixed material collections do not encode beginning or ending dates. Setting date limits will exclude these records from your search results.
More About Location in the Library
Location in the Library filters your search results to items found in the specified collection location within the Library of Congress. This limit is useful to identify items served by LC reading rooms that specialize in a particular subject or format (such as Geography and Maps or Law) or in a particular region of the world (such as, Asian or European).
Library locations include self-service reference collections in reading rooms and materials in the general and special collections:
- Reference Collections normally consist of books and periodicals that are available for self-service in a particular reading room. For instance, materials designated as being in the "Asian Reference Collection" are materials available for self-service reference use in the Asian Reading Room.
- General Collections include books and periodicals that must be retrieved by Library staff when requested by onsite researchers in the following locations: Main Reading Room, Adams 5th floor (Newspaper & Current Periodicals Reading Room, Hispanic Reading Room, and European Reading Room
- Materials in other locations are normally retrieved by Library staff and must be requested in the corresponding reading room. For instance, Manuscript refers to archival manuscript and mixed material that must be requested in the Manuscript Reading Room. A list of reading rooms is available on the Library's Researchers page.
For convenience, some listings have been clustered so that you do not have to limit by multiple selections. These include:
- All Reference Collections
- All Special Format Collections (not Reference) - Includes material to be requested from: Geography & Map Reading Room, Law Library Rare Books, Machine Readable Collection, Manuscript Reading Room, Microform Reading Room, Motion Picture & Television Reading Room, Performing Arts Reading Room, Prints & Photographs Reading Room, Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room, Recorded Sound Reference Center.
More About Place of Publication
Place of Publication filters your search results to items published in a particular place. Publication place options are presented in a drop-down menu of country names. For the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, however, states or provinces are listed separately. For these countries, you cannot select one limit for the whole country; multiple states or provinces can be selected separately using Control or Command. For places that have undergone a name change, choose all versions of a name to filter your search for publications from across time periods (e.g., Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia).
A list of the places used in the LC Catalog, with their corresponding codes, organized by continent or region, is available at the MARC21 standards site: https://www.loc.gov/marc/countries/
More About Type of Material
Type of Material filters your search results to one or more material types. Use this option, for example, to limit your search results to maps or music scores, excluding records for the many other formats such as books or recordings. To select multiple types of material, use Control or Command to select and retain multiple selections (e.g., Film or Video and Map are both selected in the example below).
While items described by a Catalog record can contain of more than one type of material, this filter generally retrieves only the predominant type. For instance, a recording may consist primarily spoken material but also have significant musical background accompaniment. In such cases, the type of material is coded as Nonmusic Recording; using the filter Music Recording would not retrieve this item. An exception is material that is serially produced. For instance, periodicals can often be filtered either using the Periodical or Newspaper or Software or E-Resource filters.
More About Language
Language filters your search results by the primary or predominant language of the material because only a single language is recorded in the data field used for limiting. Example: A work in Chinese with some English translation will not be found when limiting on works in English. To select multiple languages, use Control or Command to select and retain multiple selections.
A list of language codes used in the LC Catalog, with cross-references from terms not used, is available from the Library's MARC standards site.
Restrictions and Cautions
While limits are useful for refining large search result sets in the LC Catalog, they should be used with caution. Many older catalog records do not contain the data required to support limits; these records, therefore, will not appear in filtered search results. In addition, when multiple values (e.g., several languages) are coded in a single field of a record, limits only retrieve one of these. If relevant material is not retrieved when you filter your search results, modify your search by removing the limits.